Friday, November 16

Students produce thriller focusing on online dating, avoid overused themes

Akiva Nemetsky (left) and Keaton Heinrichs (right) produced "Bad Match," a modern-day thriller about a Tinder relationship gone wrong, which premiered Friday. (Marley Maron/Daily Bruin)

Akiva Nemetsky (left) and Keaton Heinrichs (right) produced "Bad Match," a modern-day thriller about a Tinder relationship gone wrong, which premiered Friday. (Marley Maron/Daily Bruin)

“Bad Match” crams every fear that comes with online dating into one movie.

The film, produced by fourth-year film and television students Keaton Heinrichs and Akiva Nemetsky, tells the story of a playboy who finally meets his match in a mysterious woman he meets online. However, her sweet facade fades as she slowly derails his life through lies and manipulation. The film, released Friday, strives to present a socially relevant take on thrillers and the phenomenon of online dating while avoiding past tropes of the genre, Nemetsky said.

“How odd it is that we are so trustful of who’s on the other side of the phone, who we’re talking to over these dating apps,” Heinrichs said. “This movie just brought such a twisted turn to that idea that we decided we had to make this movie.”

Heinrichs and Nemetsky both work at BoulderLight Pictures, and help pick what films get developed by the company. When it came to “Bad Match,” Nemetsky said the novelty of the concept immediately hooked BoulderLight in.

By using the modern idea of online dating, the script took the genre of horror, which often carries a gory connotation, and translated it into something that audiences could relate to in their everyday lives, Heinrichs said.

“When you say horror, I think the first thing that comes to most peoples’ minds are neck slits and knife jabs,” Heinrichs said. “But we deal with a very different kind of horror – horror that hasn’t been done before with concepts that are relevant to what’s going on in our daily lives.”

Writer-director David Chirchirillo initially pitched the story to studios and production companies who wanted to highlight the crazy female character in the movie, a stereotype that Chirchirillo said he wanted to avoid because he felt it was overly simplistic.

“It just rubbed me the wrong way a little bit because I was like, ‘Well that’s not really what I was thinking,‘” Chirchirillo said.I don’t want to make just another crazy-girl movie because I don’t think that’s the society that we live in.”

Nemetsky said he believes that Chirchirillo’s ability to work around the formulaic stories of Hollywood helped strengthen the film. Instead of relying on tired stereotypes, Chirchirillo took a well-known trope and subverted it through his writing and directing choices.

“I think tropes in general are the result of companies wanting to reach bigger audiences – so if there’s a trope that audiences are familiar with, you put that in your movie,” Nemetsky said. “We were extremely conscious of not wanting this movie to seem like a crazy-woman-on-the-loose type of movie.”

Chirchirillo used different shots and angles to refocus the story to a male character’s perspective, rather than an objective camera shot. Nemetsky said the approach helped transform the film from a simple story about a crazy woman into a commentary on the tropes that portrayed her in such a way – a visual representation of the male character’s own biases.

Chirchirillo’s choices, both visually and within the plot, are meant to spark a larger discussion about online dating and the culture that surrounds dating, he said. Instead of succumbing to the narrative of the crazy woman, the film encourages audiences to examine what circumstances and factors frame that label, he said.

“Right now, we’re taking a long hard look at who we are as a culture,” Chirchirillo said. “Maybe we need to think about our behavior a little bit and change what the conversation is. Instead of saying this girl is crazy, maybe let’s take a step back and say, ‘Well what am I doing, and how am I affecting the people around me?’”

After working on the film, Nemetsky said he doubts he’ll ever be able to use a dating app again.

“Definitely moving forward, there won’t be any more (experiences),” Nemetsky said. “That movie definitely scared that out of me.”

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